The long ball brought a long day to an encouraging end for the Washington softball team.
Hooch Fagaly ripped a first-pitch home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the 11th-ranked Huskies a 3-2 win over sixth-ranked Arizona State to earn a split in a doubleheader Friday in front of 986 at Husky Softball Stadium.
UW’s Kaitlin Inglesby threw six perfect innings in the opener and had homered to give herself a 1-0 lead, but she surrendered a walk and two home runs in the seventh to allow the Sun Devils to rally for a 3-1 win.
So when the Huskies (25-12, 5-8 Pac-12) fell behind 2-1 in the top of the seventh in the second game and were left with just three outs against the nation’s leader in strikeouts, Dallas Escobedo, things looked especially grim.
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But Kylee Lahners stroked an arcing, two-out single to shallow left field that scored Kelli Suguro to tie the game 2-2. And after Victoria Hayward was stranded at second after her leadoff double in the ninth, Fagaly saved the day for UW by going deep in the 10th.
“I felt I was seeing her (Escobedo) well in my previous at-bats,” said Fagaly, who had four hits in seven at-bats in the two games. “I was just going to go up there and hit a good pitch. I got one, and I did. It’s awesome to come together as a team, push one through and help our pitchers out.”
Coach Heather Tarr was pleased with a comeback win for her still-growing, senior-dominated team.
“We haven’t had a lot of them,” she said. “It speaks to the toughness of our group.”
With just a half-hour between games, how did Tarr prepare UW for the second game?
“There’s not much you can do,” she said. “You just have to rely on their ability to recover. You’ve got to get over it. They know. It’s just chin up, move on. It’s always about the next pitch.”
Inglesby relieved Bryana Walker (who threw a season-high 143 pitches) in the nightcap to earn the win and improve to 9-4.
“She’s an in-the-moment kind of person,” Tarr said. “If anybody was going to be able to just ride the wave, get in there and do the job, it was Kaitlin.”
Washington and ASU (39-7, 13-4) play their series finale Saturday at 11 a.m.